ENC breast cancer survivor shares journey to remission

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 8:18 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - In 2012, Jamie Williams’ discovery that she had stage three breast cancer interrupted life as she knew it.

“My son at the time was three years old and we had just lost my father-in-law to cancer not long before that, so this on top of that was overwhelming,” Williams said.

Those feelings are felt by many every year as breast cancer is the number two leading cause of cancer death in women.

As Jennifer Lewis, Vidant Cancer Care outreach coordinator explained, some people are more prone than others.

“When you do have a first-degree relative which is a sister, mother or daughter, that does double your risk of developing breast cancer.”

Jennifer Lewis, Vidant Cancer Care outreach coordinator

Experts say older women also have a higher risk, but there are exceptions to the rule as Williams was diagnosed at the age of 33.

“I had no family history, I was young at the time... so while it’s important to be aware of those risk factors and things you can do to help or prevent it, sometimes your body just decides it’s not going to do what it was designed to do,” Williams said.

While we can’t control our ages or genes, there are factors that can help reduce risks, like limiting alcohol intake and not smoking.

“Keeping yourself exercised, keeping some lean muscle mass that also reduces the fat in your body which reduces the amount of estrogen,” said Lewis.

However, Lewis explained perhaps the most important precautionary measure is communicating with your doctor.

“Any change that a woman notices, she needs to report to her primary care provider.”

Jennifer Lewis, Vidant Cancer Care outreach coordinator

According to Williams, her cancer was first detected through a self breast exam. “We don’t know what the outcome would have been if I wasn’t doing preventative strategies.”

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